Published DateSANDWICH — Voters at this Town Meeting on Wednesday night flipped the switch to the "off" position for a proposal to exchange incandescent street lights with modern light emitting diode (LED) fixtures. They also defeated a petitioned article that would have changed the highway agent from an appointed position to an elected one.
By a near unanimous show of hands, voters rejected a warrant article that would have changed the incandescent street lights to LED fixtures. The New Hampshire Electric Co-op would have made the change at no cost to the town, and the town would have saved about $500 per year thanks to a lower fixed cost contract with the power co-operative for LEDs, which use less electricity than incandescent lights.
Adding urgency to the question, the town's selectmen and energy committee members were unsure for how long replacement incandescent bulbs and parts would remain available. However, as stated by the many voters who spoke against the measure, the LED fixtures that would be installed are twice as bright as the incandescent bulbs currently in place. Residents, especially those who live in the historic district, feared the brighter lights would detract from the town's aesthetic quality and prove a nuisance to residents who live near a street light. Some who spoke against the article voiced general support for LEDs as an emerging technology and hoped that a better product would become available before the town runs out of incandescent replacements.
The petitioned warrant article asking voters to change from an appointed road agent, as has been the town's arrangement for several years, back to an elected agent, failed by a paper ballot vote of 62 in the affirmative to 88 negative votes. Supporters of the measure said a highway agent elected from among the residents of the town would be more cost-conscious administrator, while those who spoke against the article preferred to allow the Selectboard to hire the best-qualified applicant regardless of his or her town of residence.
In town elections on Friday, Mike Yeager, who was unopposed, was elected to a three-year term on the Selectboard. In the only contested race on the town ballot, Carla Muskat and Nancy Stearns beat Carol Clark for the two available library trustee positions.